More Bad Manna

Why do I insist on writing about bad manna?

Simply because it exists, that’s why. Apparently, manna – like food – can be used in different ways that are not always full of love. What can I say. I’m rather sick and tired of people writing about food as if it were the Holy Grail – it all starts seeming just too much like an animated Disney movie. Food is food is food. And it’s a million other things. A tomato is not sacred unless you want it to be. Or if you are starving. And if people are talking in hushed reverential tones about that tomato, or those cookies, or that roast chicken – and they are not starving (or at the very least they are not starving for food) – then they are even loopier than I am. And that, is pretty loopy.

Here’s a link to manna used as a con:

Holding up two handfuls of letters, Clement says, “this is all different kinds of paperwork that Peter Popoff, prophet Peter Popoff has sent me.” Clement said the stack of letters is just a couple weeks’ worth of mailings. He’s already thrown out at least this much.

It all started when Clement’s roommates signed him up for Popoff’s miracle spring water as a joke. Clement was deluged – not with miracles – but with letters full of religious trinkets.

“Here is some miracle spring water,” he said while pawing through the letters. Then there’s, “a napkin with a picture of Jesus on it,” and also a tiny plastic baggy with some kind of white, crumbly material, “miracle manna cake is what it is.

The religionification of food appears everywhere in the media of our culture today. The sense of food as somehow miraculous is heralded by the singing trumpets of foodwriters as if it were the Only Way. Or the Only Way for ‘Us’. Third-world countries are seemingly exempted from needing to feel miracles by the the foodwriters who pick up a dandelion leaf here in the midst of plenty to kiss it all over and bow to it.

Manna, of course, is a miracle. As a tomato may be.

But as I’ve said before (and I will find the source of the quote for it is one of my very favorites): “You can’t summon grace with a whistle.”

And if the everyday is imbued with sacred meaning by those who ache for the sacred – for whatever reason – then the con has begun, in some small way. And like the ‘little white lie’ in one of the VeggieTales stories . . . it will get bigger, and bigger and bigger till finally, it takes over.


4 thoughts on “More Bad Manna

  1. Bad Kitty sheds her Happy Mask!

    But seriously, must we blight all hope, must we never whistle in the dark?

  2. Only a really Bad Kitty mocks the Happy Mask that the Bad Kitty itself wears: “I don’t know, Reader X. You tell me. Meow. Meow.” Irony multiplying like rabbits.

    Sacrifices of ironical rabbits. Lunar ceremonials. Very not Israelites wandering in the desert.

    If I had to guess, I’d say that the human tendency to excess is at the root of your disappointment in “manna.” We can Scotch Tape the term to any old thing we want to, fire up our powers of “whatever” for secret purpose’s sake, and sell the stuff, a nickle a bottle, to the rubes who so want some purpose, some meaning as they, like worms, flow through the world and have the world flow through them.

    Here’s on Bad Kitty:

  3. Bad Kitty sounds very cool. I can’t imagine how I missed knowing her!

    I’m just trudging along here in the doldrums of manna but I’m sure that once I go the health food store to buy some algae-manna tablets to take I’ll perk right up!

    By the way, I found the name of the writer who wrote the whistles and grace line: Scott Russell Sanders is his name. The quote was published in Best American Essays 1993 . The wonderful piece it came from is titled ‘Wayland’.

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